Don't victim blame sufferers of personal injury
It is not uncommon to see sensational headlines condemning what has been labelled “compensation culture”. Such news stories are usually backed up with few referenced facts whilst claiming that a disproportionate number of people are seeking compensation for their injuries. However, it is widely accepted that this is entirely false. The UK government is on record (source) as to saying that only 25% of people entitled to compensation will actually seek it. Lord Chief Justice Dyson has said that the reality of what happens in Court does not match the idea of compensation culture (source). Behind the hyperbole the simple fact remains, people claiming damages should not have been injured in the first place.
So how did we get here?
It is often argued that tabloids and insurers press the argument that compensation culture exists in a bid to “claim shame” people perfectly entitled to receive compensation. This victim blaming tactic is ultimately designed to put the entitled off claiming by swaying public opinion on what it means to claim.
A recent tactic of this phenomenon can be seen with car insurance provider lobbyists who claim that their prices have increased because of an increase of whiplash claims, despite evidence of the contrary. Capital Economics on behalf of A2J published a report that found that whiplash claims fell by 17% between 2007 and 2016. During the same period, there has been a 72% increase in the cost of car insurance (source). Despite claims that the UK is the "whiplash capital of the world", it turns out that we don't even have the most whiplash claims in Europe. Prof Oliphant from Bristol University found that Italy has nearly 50% more whiplash claims and the UK falls in the lower half of all countries in Europe for number of claims (source).
It is important to remember that the huge majority of injured people pursuing claims deserve to be compensated for injuries that could have been avoided in the first place. These victims intended only to go to work for the day, receive treatment from the NHS or drive home to see loved ones. It is the job of a solicitor to ease the financial burden of dealing with such an injury whilst going to great lengths to weed out exaggerated and fraudulent claims. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers published Reality Check, a document intended to shine a light on the realities of why people claim. It highlights why it's factually and morally wrong to victim blame the injured. You can read it here.
Whatever the case, don't allow yourself to be victim blamed if you genuinely suffer from an injury caused by someone else. The law is designed to protect you and you should not be put off exercising your rights.